It’s sad that we live in a time when we don’t feel safe at school. Schools used to be the safest place for kids, protected by teachers and staff and away from predators. Not anymore. As evidenced by school shootings in Oregon and Washington, and the frightening Virginia Tech massacre, parents are naturally concerned about sending their kids off to school each year. And it’s not just college, the Newton shootings and the Columbine shootings make it clear that kids of all ages are at risk.
A pay phone or flagging down a police officer used to be our only defense against dangerous criminals and psychotic shooters. But today, students are armed with a valuable weapon: their smartphone with safety apps—giving them instant access to authorities, parents and other students.
Following are five safety apps you should arm your students with during high school and college:
1. Circle of 6- The Circle of 6 app is designed to help students out of potentially dangerous situations. On the app, users should connect the phone numbers of up to six close friends. These should be classmates, family or trusted individuals in the area. In uncomfortable situations, users can safely and discreetly send a mass message for help. By pressing the car icon, users send out a text complete with your current GPS location. Your safety network will get your message and pick you up. Tapping the phone icon will send out a message that says, “Call and pretend you need me. I need an interruption,” to the six preset numbers. For true emergencies, students can call 911 from within the app. The app’s chat icon links users to information online about healthy relationships.
2. MyForce- When your student is alone or sensing danger, he can just pull out the MyForce app in case of emergencies. By hitting the app’s bright red button, he will trigger a discreet alarm. Once the alert is triggered, MyForce will start recording his call and pinpoint his present location. The monitoring operator who you connect with will determine it’s an emergency and call 911. Your emergency contacts will also be alerted.
3. OnWatch- This personal safety app lets students alert friends and authorities immediately in emergencies. There are six app functions: calling 911 and friends, calling 911 only, calling campus police, the “Watch my Back” setting (timed alert that must be disabled with passcode), contacting friends, and the “I’m here” setting. When your student walks home and wants to let friends or family know he has arrived safely, the “I’m here” setting does just that.
4. Watch Over Me- Watch Over Me is a personal safety app designed to help look out for your student when he needs it the most. The app automatically turns their smartphone into a powerful personal safety device for daily use. If your student has ever called a friend while feeling unsafe, this is the app for you. Whether she is going for a run, walking to the car, walking home, or meeting someone for the first time, all she has to do is let Watch Over Me know and it’ll watch over her via GPS throughout her journey. If she fails to check-in safely once she is done, Watch Over Me will alert her emergency contact list immediately and provide them with her location on a map.
5. OnCall Defender- This app delivers 24-hour personal security and medical assistance coverage at your finger tips. Available as a free download for the iPhone, OnCall Defender™ is the only 24/7 personal protection and/or medical alert mobile GPS alarm system that is connected to a professionally staffed central monitoring station with a direct link to local law enforcement and EMS dispatch.